Watertown man apologizes for ‘calling for violence’ against LGBTQ+ community

An apology to the LGBTQ community

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s an apology from a Watertown man whose words urged violence against the LGBTQ+ community last year.

In June 2019, Donnie Lee Barrigar posted this on Facebook:

“Watertown is having a LGBTQ celebration. For the love of God, please let someone go on a mass shooting.”

Barrigar never faced charges for that post.

But now, he’s saying he’s sorry.

In a statement to 7 News, Barrigar wrote “I regret my judgment that allowed a hateful thought to become public and cause fear to spread amongst the LGBTQ plus community.”

Barrigar says the change of heart stems from a conversation with a friend.

“He brought up all the pain and the suffering that I caused the community,” Barrigar said. “And I started to reflect that I shouldn’t have made that post. It just wasn’t good. There was so much hate involved.”

This past June, Barrigar recorded himself taking down the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag flying outside Watertown’s city hall.

He faces a misdemeanor count for that.

When asked if he’s sorry for those actions, Barrigar says his lawyer advised him not to comment.

But for the apology about last year’s Facebook post, Watertown Pride Organizer Mark Irwin says it’s good to hear.

“There’s a lot of members of our LGBTQ Community that have really struggled with those kind of threats privately and sometimes that manifests into reality,” Irwin said. “So, for myself, I appreciate it and I do think it’s a great first step. We’ll see what his next steps are, though.”

Barrigar says he has what he calls a peaceful plan to address the LGBTQ+ community going forward, but he did declined to give specifics on what that plan is. Barrigar says he wants to run it by the Watertown city council at their next meeting first.

“I would need permission from the mayor and council for what I’ll be asking and I would like to have the mayor and council hear it first.”

Barrigar’s lawyer in the flag case, John Hallet, says he didn’t know his client sent the apology until 7 News told him.

In response, Hallet writes “I am encouraged by Mr. Barrigar’s heartfelt apology. I hope this goes a long way towards healing wounds felt by many people regarding this incident. Violence is never an answer particularly in matters such as this.”

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